Ivanya Johnson - 2015 Program Participant

Why did you decide to apply for an international program?

My Mom found Broadreach for me; she knew that I loved adventure, meeting new people, and learning more about the world we live in. Each year I choose a different trip/experience to take part in, and I choose to do this so that I could see another world beyond the one we live in. I have a better understanding of life since I have been a part of Broadreach, and I look forward to learning more, diving more, and meeting new faces all around the world.

Faux crows nest on the set of Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean

Why did you choose Broadreach?

I choose this specific program because I wanted to dive more and advance in my scuba skills. I also choose this program because I wanted to learn about the culture in a different part of the world as well as learn a bit about sailing and see how I would do with it.

What was your favorite part about the Caribbean?

I enjoyed visiting where the movie set of Pirates of the Caribbean while on this trip; it was really cool to be somewhere where an actual movie was filmed and shot, and meet some of the cast that played in the movie as extras. Aside from that, I enjoyed doing more dives and seeing new creatures in the sea.

What aspects of your program made it unique?

What made this program unique for me was that I had the opportunity to learn how to sail and live on the boat all that time we were gone from home. It was an amazing experience learning how to do so much while out at sea.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

The staff were very helpful to my Mom in planning the trip and making sure I had everything I needed. As for the help I received from the staff while on the trip, they were great and were really there for me if I needed to talk, and they helped me learn more from the new experiences. I will forever be grateful to have shared this opportunity with them.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently? 

Nothing at all I wish I would have done differently. I enjoyed every breathtaking moment of being on the trip out to sea with new friends.

Tourists on a beach in the Grenadines

Playing a game

What was a typical day like for you during your program?

Wake up early, make breakfast, relax for a bit, and then start diving. Once we finished diving, we’d set sail for a while in the middle of the sea, and dive some more and be merry and enjoy our new friends. We went on the islands as well to do shopping and exploring, but I loved being on the boat and learning more things.

What did you enjoy doing most?

I loved waking up and diving, and I also enjoyed the night dives, they were spectacular.

What surprised you most about diving in the Caribbean?

What surprised me the most where the statues under the water. The water was so warm, calm, and serene. I felt so much at peace, and it was an amazing experience being under the water. I saw so many swarms of fish everywhere I turned. They would swim around you and we would all try to do things for them to move and they would scatter, and then they would come right back; it was the most amazing thing ever.

A group photo of friends in the Caribbean

Group selfie

What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like best about it? 

On this particular trip, we stayed on the boat throughout the duration, except for when we first got there and the day before leaving. I loved every moment of it because it was a new experience.

Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed out to sea with Broadreach?

For the packing list I suggest participants bring extra clothes. The program tells you a specific amount to bring, but my Mom has always packed extra clothes for me and they have always came in handy. Sometimes your clothes are lost, sometimes you have so many clothes to get wet with no time to dry. Also, be sure to have a dry wet bag, because this will keep most things dry for you, and always have your meds with you in case you get sea sick.

Another thing is to be sure to have a really great underwater camera if you can, because you will want to treasure these experiences. Last thing is if you wear prescription glasses or contacts, I’d suggest you invest in a scuba mask that is prescribed; that was the best thing my Mom could have ever done for me. They really allowed me to see much better under the water and enjoy the experience more.

Girl petting a sea turtle at a sanctuary in the Grenadines

Turtle Sanctuary

What is one thing you wish you would have known before your trip?

Nothing! It was such a great experience. I was so excited to be a part of this trip, and to meet and see people from other walks of life. The experience Broadreach gave me kept me in suspense, because you never knew what would be next, so there is nothing that I would have wanted to know ahead of time.

Now that you're home, how has your time abroad impacted your life?

I simply see life from a different point of view now. I’m not so quick to want things as I once did and I realize the value of the life I am blessed to have now. Seeing all that I have seen so far makes me want to help people more and it makes me more thankful for life as I know it.

Would you recommend Broadreach to other individuals?

I would most definitely recommend Broadreach to other individuals. I have been taking these trips for the last three years now, since I started out in seventh grade and I am now a freshman at an early college.

If you could go abroad again, where would you go?

I am actually going to be going on another trip in the summer of 2016 to Bombay and Lombok, which is off the coast of Indonesia. I have been told this is one of the best trips and I am looking forward to traveling the skies and scuba diving the water in that country.